** Editor’s note: This new series features answers to the most commonly asked workplace etiquette questions.
How do you handle a situation in the workplace involving someone who brings in a stinky lunch or who does not clean the communal kitchen space?
Strange as this question may seem to many people because the answer lies in common sense, like so many of the infractions of civility we encounter on a daily basis, common sense has taken leave of so many people’s senses!
There is no doubt someone in charge of the communal kitchen – even it means ultimately the CEO. Part of the responsibility of said person is to do whatever policing is required to see to it that the kitchen is used properly. If this isn’t being done, which can happen for any number of reasons, whoever is offended is well within their rights to call the offending person out – but must do so in private, explaining what the situation is.
Let’s face it; there are slobs in the world.
If a note stating the policy for using the kitchen is a necessary step – usually one only needed in fraternity houses and kindergartens – then so be it. If the offences continue, the offender(s) simply lose their privileges.
There is never any reason for this to reach a fever pitch of emotions. Keep the discussion on a factual level and no voices need to be raised. This should not be a cause for war, or even a workplace battle. Keep in mind however, that slobs are bullies in disguise. Workplace bullying occurs only because it is allowed.
Don’t allow it!